Belief in god/supreme power

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Postby Khamul'sshadow » Wed Jul 04, 2001 6:24 am

Perfection : complete in itself in every conceivable way, conforming<BR>to an ideal with no omissions, utter, absolute. To have a desire<BR>denotes a need, a want which cannot be realized in the "thing" itself;<BR>hence, not perfect. Also, desire can never be satiated and can be seen<BR>as the root of all misery. Just a thought ! <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>
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Postby Tuor, » Wed Jul 04, 2001 6:36 am

Just an imperfedt human thought. <BR><BR>Don't give yourself too much credit. Or mankind for that matter.
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Postby Beleg » Wed Jul 04, 2001 8:32 am

The reason God created the Universe is because He is Love, nothing further, no need to go further. It was a perfectly willed act.<BR><BR>I would like to address Axordil's concerns. You ask why various pains and evils exist if God is perfect and the Creator. That is called 'theodicy', which I would like you to start using when you ask questions like that. You may as well learn a little advanced English if you're going to raise fundamental questions. Of course, you may well know the word and think we groundlings wouldn't know the difference anyway. Some of us have had at least the rudiments of eduction in this area. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR><BR>I know I have addressed this before, but evil exists because creatures will to defy their Creator, from whose Being goodness proceeds. It is not a question of wondering whether God is good, but only of whether we behave in goodness and believe in Him as the source of goodness. <BR><BR>The thing is, someone contracting cancer, for instance, is not an 'evil' in this sense. It certainly isn't nice nor pleasant and everyone would very much like to avoid contracting cancer, but pace external causes like smoking, cancer appears to be something that grows as a consequence of genetic disfunction. The fact of disfunction here could be something the parents did to muck up their own genes and it could simply be something inherent in that family over time. The former might be thought 'evil', but the latter is far less likely to be so because 'evil' requires premeditation before the fact. A child playing with matches is not behaving evilly unless he/she had been told this was dangerous. If the child continues the behavior, then evil is present: the child is defying its parents. The same analogy holds for all humanity vis a vis God. We have been clearly told what is evil and only cavilling can 'protect' us from the consequences of having defied our Maker (cavilling such as Gromm's comes to mind). We are not in a position to reliably question the Word of God and even those who cleave to the Word and proclaim Christ Crucified can get things horribly wrong in their fanaticism, simply from being limited and human. This being so, I have much less confidence that philosophers can humanly contrive a doctrine of behavior and belief by first tossing out Christian theology and moral dicta. <BR><BR>To get back to 'theodicy': evil behavior is permitted by God as the necessary concommitant of having granted us a measure of free will. We act according to our lights and that action has reference to an absolute Standard. Any shifting standards are illusory and probably self-serving (see the current Yates controversy for this kind of misuse of the doctrine of forgiveness). But, shifting standards are what devolve from humanly contrived regimes of behavior. That's the only characteristic all human systems share: they are neither permanent nor are they comprehensive. And this impermanence and lack of comprehensiveness is part of why evil exists: we then go ahead and behave on the basis of incomplete instruction. We also go ahead and do things our own way, no matter who says what when and to whom.<BR><BR>Besides, if humans attempt to personally derive and enforce a set of morals and precepts, then other humans are not in any way required to respect or obey. The first set might well use force to make their fellows obey them, and there might well be a grudging kind of compliance, but at the first opportunity, this totalitarian rule will be thrown off, if only to impose another set of totalitarians (see South America, again). You can certainly dismiss this line of reasoning by insisting on looking at Judaeo-Christian Scripture from the big end of the telescope, but that's the only basis upon which it can be dismissed. Jesus Christ Incarnated, asserted His credentials to be God, was executed and rose again, proving His superiority to death and Hell, not to mention mere status as a 'very wise human'. This is the doctrine you must overthrow to successfully deny truth claims in the Bible, and to do so, you must fully impeach the testimony of the Apostles and Evangelists, whose character is proved simply from the texts they wrote to be at the very least exemplary and perhaps holy and righteous to an extent that beggars description. It certainly beggars any comparison I might make between myself and them.<BR><BR>I firmly believe in God in Three Persons, Who made me, Who made the Universe, Who redeemed me and Who sanctifies me. I do not know how He did these things. In life, it is not necessary for me to know how, just why. And why He did these things is because He loves me and wants me to share His Being for eternity. I have only to choose Him and to cleave to this choice to my death.<BR><BR>
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Postby asaris » Wed Jul 04, 2001 9:40 am

A reply to Runes' post. As usual, his post will be italicized.<BR><BR><i>1) Christianity in particular is a totalitarianism. Everything god says is right. I know it. I'm right because the bible says so. We as mortals cannot judge, or forecast anything, so- nor can an entity created by mortals.</i><BR><BR>You be the question here. The fact that God cannot judge anything because he is created by mortals, so you don't believe in him, obviously assumes from the start he doesn't exist.<BR><BR><i>2) I don't support a religion which goes around aggresivley trying to convert people. Watch (that movie about jesuit priests who go to South America... i forget the name...) Again, goes back to my first point. We are right, you are wrong.</i><BR><BR>Well, we all believe, to a greater or lesser extent (see my response to (3)) that non-believers go to hell. So isn't it a good idea to send missionaries, to prevent more people from going to hell than have to? Your second point seems to undermine your third point. You don't like it that some people are going to burn in hell, but you don't like it when we try and save you guys.<BR><BR><i>3) If i don't believe, i am going to burn in hell for the rest of eternity--- that hardly seems fair for having an opinion.</i><BR><BR>Well, first of all, it's not for having an opinion, its for impiety and all the other mean and nasty things you've done (not that you're particularly bad, but everyone's done some rotten stuff, right?) Secondly, I hold that everyone who is is hell, is there by choice. 'Better to rule in hell than serve in heaven'. Some of us want to live in what you call the totalitarian regime. Hell is just the place outside of it.<BR>Thirdly, and connected with my second point, it cannot possibly be true that "No non-christians will go to heaven." Because we're told that we cannot judge of particular persons whether or not they're going to heaven. But obviously, that universal claim entails that we KNOW a large number of people who are not going to heaven. So a correct claim would be "Perhaps some non-christians are going to heaven."<BR><BR><i>4) Contradictions, the bible contradicts itself far too much.</i><BR><BR>You know, this often comes up. I don't think it does contradict itself. Show me.<BR><BR><i>5) I don't like it's views on some things- divorce, homosecuality, the bible even eludes to a patriarchal society. What ever happened to love thy neighbour? It's not love thy male, straight, married neighbour, it should be- love thy neighbour. Period. More contradictions.</i><BR><BR>It is love thy neighbor. But you don't have to like what he does. Say my neighbor is a convicted murderer. I have to love him. That doesn't mean I have to think murder is ok. And I don't think that the Bible teaches that divorce is always wrong (though it does indicate it should be much more infrequent than it is), that it's wrong to be a homosexual (though it's wrong to practice), or even that it 'alludes' to a patriarchal society (at all).<BR><BR><i>6) Some of the stories i just can't help but giggle. A big tower? God making everyone speak different languages?</i><BR><BR>I suspect you realize that this isn't really a valid objection. Lots of us think they're metaphorical. Besides, doesn't evolution sound ridiculous to you if you're hearing it for the first time? ("What? Apes? Well, maybe my aunt Matilda did...") It's "obvious" that members of a species produce nothing other than more members of that species. (And yes, I believe in evolution too.)<BR><BR><i>7) Evolution and the theory of Pangea have been proven, well proven alot more than just something a book says.</i><BR><BR>Well, this point is probably open to debate, but the fact is that I believe in evolution too, so it's hardly a valid objection to the truth of Christianity.
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Postby runes » Wed Jul 04, 2001 12:23 pm

yo do have valid points, but, again, going back to the 'totalitarian' thing... i have a belief/opinion, and beause it differs from what 'god' wants we have to suffer? sounds like a whiny toddler.
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Postby runes » Wed Jul 04, 2001 12:30 pm

aglar-<BR><BR>"runes <BR>- the bible only contradicts itself to those who will not see its truth<BR>- pangea probably did exist, before the world-wide flood (which science has also proven) tore the landmasses apart<BR>-you cannot possible make me believe that some random big bang of all the matter in the universe concentrated in one tiny area could have happened. who put the matter there? the odds are like one in infinity that the universe has such perfect order the way it does. somebody is behind everything, it cant be chance, it cant be. if you flip a coin a billion times, what are the chances you'll get heads every time?"<BR><BR>"- the bible only contradicts itself to those who will not see its truth". i'm not going to even start.<BR><BR><BR>"- pangea probably did exist, before the world-wide flood (which science has also proven) tore the landmasses apart" and some guy in a ship took two of EVERY animal and saved the world? Yes there is evidence of an 'arc' which i do not doubt, and this person may have got a couple of animals into it. if this were the only refuge of life, we'd all be dead by now. by the way, wouldnt all humans and animals be inbred then?<BR><BR>"-you cannot possible make me believe that some random big bang of all the matter in the universe concentrated in one tiny area could have happened. who put the matter there? the odds are like one in infinity that the universe has such perfect order the way it does. somebody is behind everything, it cant be chance, it cant be. if you flip a coin a billion times, what are the chances you'll get heads every time?" <BR>those chances are exactly the same as getting 500 million heads and 500 million tails. or 499 million heads and 501 millions tails. exactly, it is a one in infinity chance, and as long as there is a one in infinity chance, then there still is A CHANE. out of and infinite number of possibilities, we just happened to have turned out how we did. points reversed, you cant make me believe some guy pointed his finger and everything was made.<BR><BR>many laugh at zues and thor and such? Why is living on the 'world tree' surrounded by a snake, or living on the back of an elephant ANY different from what the Bible says?<BR>
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Postby Xeifdalm » Wed Jul 04, 2001 12:32 pm

A dangerous thread for a new account.<BR><BR>No I don't believe.<BR><BR>I went to church and Sunday school as a kid but always felt distanced from it. I'd think about Odin and Ra and the turtle with the world on its back. I'd wonderat what point in the future the Christian God and his son and Satan and the saints and angels would be written about as legends of an ancient primitive culture. Yet another pantheon that man had dreamed onto the sky.<BR><BR>As I aged I became embittered by religion and the religous. I became aware that love of God was used to justify hating, hurting, and killing of other members of humanity.<BR><BR>The paradox of the Christian God is free will. All knowing, all powerful, infinite without begining or end and pure without evil. He creates a man. He gives him free will. The man makes evil choices. God knew this would happen, and had the power to make it otherwise if He chose to. Where is the free will? How can He be good if he allows evil that He could have prevented. If we are truly free to make our own choices, why are we punished for the exercise of our "free will".<BR><BR>From a mathmatical measure, eternal punishment/reward for finite life is also very unfair. The ratio of life to punishment/reward is zero. Is God really going to subject us to infinite agony for mistakes made during a vanishingly short period of "life". <BR><BR>Whatever.
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Postby Khamul'sshadow » Wed Jul 04, 2001 2:38 pm

It seems to be the contention of some on this thread that "God"<BR>cannot be understood, known or questioned by a flawed, imperfect<BR>humanity. We can only rely on the "Word of God", which I assume to be<BR>the Bible. As I've stated in related threads, to view these diverse<BR>collection of ancient texts as "divinely" written requires reliance<BR>on faith ( and, I would argue, a neglect or at least a very selective<BR>view of the surviving historical records ). Personally, I find it<BR>somewhat odd that you would reduce the infinite to the level of an<BR>author. But perhaps we are starting to go round in circles.
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Postby Aglar » Wed Jul 04, 2001 5:35 pm

kamul'sshadow - i know this goes back to the faith thing, but we Christians believe that is was God working through man that wrote the bible - hence its called "the Word of God"
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Postby DuncanShadowalker » Wed Jul 04, 2001 7:24 pm

There are those who think that life has nothing left to chance <BR>With a host of holy horrors to direct our aimless dance <BR>A planet of playthings we dance on the strings <BR> of powers we cannot perceive <BR>"The stars are'nt aligned, or the Gods are malign" <BR>Blame is better to give than receive <BR>There are those who think that they've been dealt a losing hand <BR>The cards were stacked against them, they were'nt born in lotus land <BR>All pre-ordained, a prisoner in chains <BR>A victim of venomous fate <BR>Kicked in the face, you can pray for a place <BR>in Heavens unearthly estate <BR>Each of us, a cell of awareness <BR>Imperfect and incomplete <BR>Genetic blends, with one shot to dance <BR>on a fortune hunt thats far too fleet<BR>You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice <BR>If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice <BR>You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill <BR>I will choose a path thats clear <BR>I will choose freewill<BR>-N. Peart<BR><BR>I feel sorry for the earths population, cause so few live in the USA <BR>At least the foreigners can copy our morality <BR>they can visit but they cannot stay<BR>Only precious few can garner our prosperity <BR>It makes us walk with renewed confidence<BR>We've got a place to go when we die and the architect resides right here <BR>We've got the American Jesus, see him on the interstate <BR>We've got the American Jesus, exercising His authority <BR>He's the farmers barren fields <BR>the force our army wields <BR>the expressions in the faces of the starving children <BR>the power of the Man <BR>the fuel that drives the clan <BR>He's the motive and the conscience of the muderer <BR>He's the preacher on T.V. <BR>the false sincerity <BR>the form letter thats written by the big computers <BR>He's the nuclear bombs <BR>the kids with no moms <BR>and I'm fearful that He's inside ME! <BR>We've got the American Jesus, overwhelming millions everyday <BR>-Brett Gurewitz <BR><BR>There is a thing confusedly formed, <BR>born before Heaven and Earth. <BR>Silent and void It stands alone and does not change, <BR>goes round and does not weary. <BR>It is capable of being the Mother of the world. <BR>I know not Its name so I style it "the way". <BR>Lao Tzu <BR>
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Postby enchantress » Wed Jul 04, 2001 8:02 pm

Ahhhh Duncan the Shadow Walker (Hail and Well met!!!), I salute you.......<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR><BR>The Words of Master Tzu....*enchie sits with blissful expression on her face* ....music to my ears<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR><BR>~enchantress
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Postby Gargoyle » Wed Jul 04, 2001 8:20 pm

My answer to the original post: No, at least as far as any religion is concerned.<BR><BR>Why? Occam's Razor. Through my life I have seen no evidence that would lead me to believe that a conscious divine will is controlling the universe. In particular, I see nothing that makes one of the many thousands of differing Christian definitions of the universe (let alone religions outside of Christianity) any more or less credible than any other. I am always amazed by the ego of belief, the unwavering conviction that lets one claim that their personal viewpoint is correct when placed against the views of others, when collectively all of the thousands of different views rest purely on subjective faith. Given a set of 10,000 religions (from Methodism to Judaism to Catholicism to Presbyterianism to Wiccanism to Scientology to Mormonism to Islam etc) where all have <i>equal</i> credibility and supporting evidence and most make claims of amazing fantasy, pointing at one as being the truth while discarding the remaining 9,999 as false is a choice that I could never in truth make and claim that I have any intellectual honesty or trust in myself. To stand before the door of a church or temple and say "I don't believe in my own independent thought or judgement, I wish to cease the burden of thinking and accept completely your beliefs/creeds/morals" is a step that I could never take.<BR><BR>So, that's my angle on religion. <BR><BR>As for god/God/pantheon/spirit? I acknowledge that it can be a possibility, although I think that such a being would simply be beyond definition or comprehension, and would either be equal to or indistinguishable from Nature itself (whatever that may be <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0> ). Such a being would certainly be beyond worship or prayer or chanting or spell or wafer-chewing or incense or sacrifice or any of the ritualistic trappings that form the house-of-cards upon which religions proclaim their "truths".<BR><BR>Now...morality, justice, goodness, love, trust, respect, beauty...all of these I strongly believe in. I've just never seen the need to have a supreme being tell me to believe in these or justify them.
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Postby Tuor, » Wed Jul 04, 2001 9:55 pm

Gargoyle,<BR><BR>Nice way of saying there probably is no god, but if there is, anyone who is worshipping him is wrong anyhow. I feel a little insulted, but I guess it can't be helped. It's all opinion anyhow.<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0>
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Postby the_Wanderer » Thu Jul 05, 2001 3:45 am

"I have a question, if I may, for my Christian friends. Why would a<BR>uniquely perfect being create anything ? The act of creation <BR>implies some kind of need or desire, which stands in contradiction<BR>to the notion of perfection."<BR><BR>But if you're perfect, then why do you need anything at all? You'd b perfectly happy right?<BR><BR>
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Postby Tuor, » Thu Jul 05, 2001 5:38 am

Perhaps you would be. After all, you would be self actualized and to some there is nothing more important than themselves.
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Postby Axordil » Thu Jul 05, 2001 7:22 am

Beleg--<BR><BR>Actually that was runes. I personally worked through the notion of theodicy a while back. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0> Still, you have summed up traditional Christian thought on the question nicely.
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Postby Beleg » Thu Jul 05, 2001 7:51 am

Sorry about the misattribution, Ax. Thanks for the compliment. Tho, from her very recent post, I see that the_Wanderer makes a point of not reading my posts, even in threads she participates in.
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Postby Apostasy » Thu Jul 05, 2001 4:42 pm

I do not believe in anything that I would call a "God," and so generally find it easiest to refer to myself as an atheist (though that term itself is commonly misused). I lack god beliefs. <BR><BR>However, this question is really impossible to answer until I know _which_ god I am being asked if I believe in. The term "god" is almost meaningless until a particular theist defines their own particular use of it. Even terms like "Christian" are rarely helpful, because practically everyone has a different idea of what the Christian god is.<BR><BR>An interesting example of this definition problem is my friend Eljay, whose god is the universe/all existence. Eljay does not ascribe any sort of will to his god. His god is all powerful (anything that is done, is done by it), all knowing (it contains all knowledge), etc. Eljay simply worships all existence (again, not that he always personally likes it, or thinks of it as a willful being with opinions, but he celebrates it nonetheless). However, Eljay's god is not my god. In this case, the only real difference between Eljay and I seems to be one of terminology: Eljay is a theist, and I am an atheist, yet we feel the same way about just about everything. I agree that the universe exists (almost by definition)- yet I do not simply consider it a god (I do not "deify" it). The difference between us demonstrates the very subjective nature of whether something is or is not a "god" to someone. <BR><BR>However, in terms of gods like the Christian god, I have no belief in it's objective existence, nor does it seem, at least in it's Biblical description, to be something I'd subjectively deify either, either metaphorically (as some non-literal Christians do), or even if it did exist.
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Postby Xeifdalm » Thu Jul 05, 2001 4:51 pm

Here's a conundrum for the faithful, especially those of the "Born Again" flavor.<BR><BR>When I was young and agnostic I was challenged with a great tragedy. Two of my very closest friends were killed in a car accident. I was in profound shock and agony. At their funeral I was approached by an aquaintance who impressed upon me that the only way to overcome my grief was to accept Christ. I would have done anything at that moment to feel even the slightest bit better, so I tried it. I sincerely asked JC to be my personal saviour. But after I had said the words they felt hollow. I knew then that I did not beleive. <BR><BR>The other person seemed quite pleased with himself, having saved my soul and all. He congratulated me, and went off to find more greiving souls awaiting salvation. <BR><BR>As he walked away I asked God to give me faith so that I could sincerely ask again for salvation. I didn't ask for a miracle, or proof that he existed, just for the faith that would allow me to accept him. To this day it has not come to me.<BR><BR>So am I saved, but being an athiest I just don't know it yet. ("So I got that going for me... Er.. Which is nice.") Or am I still on the rocket-sled to hell? <BR><BR>
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Postby Apostasy » Thu Jul 05, 2001 5:36 pm

Xeifdalm,<BR><BR>I've always thought it strange that in the face of tragedy, someone would try to sell an idealogy. It's always struck me as sort of irrelevant and out of place: someone dies and the solution to our feelings of loss is to believe in a supernatural diety, and accept a whole host of strange new ideas and positions that go along with it? It's always seemed much like lawyers chasing an ambulance- striking just when people are most exausted, down, and open to suggestion.<BR><BR>Quite recently, a fabulous friend of mine died young, at only 20. She was a bright fun-loving spirit, who never had anuy interest or concern at all in gods or religion that I know of (though she sort of hoped in her joyus way to live again as a butterfly), and she faced her illness and death bravely and without depression, because she loved life too much to waste what she got on worry and fear. <BR><BR>Her family, however, was religious, and so the people who spoke at her wake and mass all spoke about different parables about Christ, and how we must all keep faith in their God even if a needlessly early death seemed hard to accept (not that I think it says much about the existence or non-existence of any gods, or that I had any faith to shore up). I felt it sad, however, that their ceremonies of remembrance for her had so little to do with the person she actually was, and indeed the sole purpose of them seemed not to celebrate her life, but rather to make sure that believers didn't lose their faith in the face of tragedy: shoring up the ranks of belief in times of low morale. <BR><BR>I don't begrudge her parents their method of healing, as I know that it must have been very important to them. But it was sad that the primary concern was on beliefs and idealogies, and not in simply spreading the love of a lost loved one, regardless of what they did or did not believe.
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Postby Aglar » Thu Jul 05, 2001 5:53 pm

Apostasy - on the last day, when you stand before God in all His glory, you will understand why it had been so important for the pastor at the funeral to make sure people could still love God when He did things in their life that they cannot understand. you'll be on your knees begging for mercy and wishing you had heeded those minister's words
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Postby Khamul'sshadow » Thu Jul 05, 2001 6:23 pm

It seems obvious to me some Christians are rather uncharitable in their views ! We should be careful what we wish upon others - it<BR>often comes back to haunt them.
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Postby Aglar » Thu Jul 05, 2001 7:26 pm

i wasnt wishing anything on anyone. just re-phrasing what the Bible says when it talks about "weeping and gnashing of teeth"
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Postby Apostasy » Thu Jul 05, 2001 8:53 pm

<i>you will understand why it had been so important for the pastor at the funeral to make sure people could still love God when He did things in their life that they cannot understand.</i><BR><BR>So you claim. <BR><BR>As for me, I don't blame your God for my friend dying young, as I don't believe in your God. Nor was her death something that "cannot be understood." And I don't even intend to belittle her parent's need to focus on religious ideaology as a way to deal with their grief and loss. We all play out what we know, cope with things in the ways we know how. <BR><BR>It's simply something I see as being quite strange and off-kilter, knowing how little any religious ideaology had to do with her life. If it provided comfort to the living, it was good- but it still scares me a little that what people happen to believe or not believe is considered, by you or anyone, grounds for threats, hard sales pitches, and an almost obsessive focus to the exclusion of other, perhaps more pertinent things, like the grand and inspiring life my friend led. <BR><BR><i>you'll be on your knees begging for mercy and wishing you had heeded those minister's words</i><BR><BR>How can you claim this when you have no idea what "those minister's words" even were? For all you know, he could have been of a Christian sect that you don't think is teaching legitimate doctrine.<BR><BR>I doubt I'd beg for anyone's mercy unless some brute tortured me or someone I loved, but that would hardly be much of a victory for anyone.
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Postby Xeifdalm » Thu Jul 05, 2001 9:02 pm

Aglar,<BR>Right, because God wants to punish us FOREVER for a few years worth of decisions made in an massive confusing contradictory world.<BR><BR>So what do you think of my story? My sincere "prayer" for faith made in a hour of darkness went unanswered thus far.<BR><BR>Am I a saved athiest, or must I conjure my own faith to avoid and eterity of flesh peeling torture?
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Postby DuncanShadowalker » Thu Jul 05, 2001 9:23 pm

I dont know, Aglar. You sound pretty smug and self-satisfied in your reply to Apostasy. Kind of like the class tattletale who stands behind the teacher and snickers when someone else is in trouble. It must be so nice to have Creation spelled out so perfectly for you. All you have to do is follow the rules and the rest of eternity will be absolute bliss.(Are they Gods rules? Or were they developed by a political group who needed a way to gain support for their movement. Easy answers for desperate people. "You all just do like we...err GOD says, and you'll have eternal salvation. You have to listen to us, though, cause only we know what God wants you to do to get into His blessed realm.") <BR>Sitting around on clouds looking at God. Sounds boring to me, but then I guess I'm going to hell anyway because I dont follow all the rituals prescribed by God. Being a good and honorable person is'nt enough, apparently. He is up there watching, making sure I thank Him enough, and know how to bow and scrape properly. Then, when my friends die, I cant go and remember fond memories, and let the joy I felt at having known them start to wash away the grief. I have to sit there and listen to some guy tell me how fortunate I am that God will still let me love him, and to make sure I toe the line or when its my turn in the box I'm going straight down. <BR>I would never tell anyone what to believe. If you believe in God, and want to follow rituals, and chant and pray, more power to you. If it brings you joy and comfort, go for it. As long as it does not directly harm anyone else. But sadly, most organized religions focus less on spirituality, and more on persecuting those who are, or seem to be, different. Smug self-righteous intolerance can be found in every culture thru out history, but Islam and Christianity seem to have developed it into an art form. <BR>I sort of went off on a rant here, but I think the greatest problem we have as a species is our need to force our ideals and beliefs on others. It creates more hatred and intolerance than any other actions we take. We need to evolve, and start to realize that we all are different. And as long as we behave with honor, and leave each other to pursue happiness and contentment in our own ways, our society would be a much happier place. <BR><BR>Some stories of Jesus Christ seem to be miracles. But from other viewpoints they are explainable. Through spirituality and meditation we can change things and influence one another. So miracles can be explained. Or we can at least understand that the power is in all of us, though mostly ignored, and does not come from some mysterious external element.<BR>-paraphrased quote from His Holiness the Dalai Lama <BR><BR>http://www.savetibet.org/<BR><BR>
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Postby runes » Thu Jul 05, 2001 9:24 pm

"Apostasy - on the last day, when you stand before God in all His glory, you will understand why it had been so important for the pastor at the funeral to make sure people could still love God when He did things in their life that they cannot understand. you'll be on your knees begging for mercy and wishing you had heeded those minister's words "<BR><BR>Aglar, you might be, but i sure as hell won't be. I ain't going nowhere i have to grovel and worry about my life. I know what's right and wrong, and i know i'm a good person. period. I'd rather live in peace and spend my time in hell then live under some false blanket and live in heaven. Hell- all my friend's will be there.
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Postby runes » Thu Jul 05, 2001 9:28 pm

Xeif-<BR>"I went to church and Sunday school as a kid but always felt distanced from it. I'd think about Odin and Ra and the turtle with the world on its back. I'd wonderat what point in the future the Christian God and his son and Satan and the saints and angels would be written about as legends of an ancient primitive culture. Yet another pantheon that man had dreamed onto the sky."<BR><BR>EXACTLY.<BR><BR>we scoff on their primitive views, but heck, they felt the same way we do now.
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Postby Gargoyle » Thu Jul 05, 2001 9:36 pm

Tuor said "Gargoyle,<BR><BR>Nice way of saying there probably is no god, but if there is, anyone who is worshipping him is wrong anyhow. I feel a little insulted, but I guess it can't be helped. It's all opinion anyhow."<BR><BR>No, not quite what I meant. Instead read "...anyone who is worshipping him <i>in conviction that they know the truth while others do not</i> is <i>likely</i> wrong anyhow..."<BR><BR>I completely support and respect individual search for spirituality, life, meaning, and the universe. I don't support organized evangelism or prosyletizing.<BR>
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Postby Khamul'sshadow » Fri Jul 06, 2001 5:08 am

Right, it's off to the fiery furnace with the lot of you godless<BR>heathens <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0> ( myself included <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-shocked.gif"border=0> ) I find it highly offensive when<BR>people speak in "God's" name and act as judge, jury and executioner!<BR>I've had believers arrive at my door and when I politely ask them<BR>to take their business elsewhere am told " Well then you're going to<BR>hell". I'll never forget that bas###d Jimmy Swaggart saying, at<BR>Christmas 1980, "John Lennon is in hell right now". If the sole criterion for your belief is a fear of eternal punishment, you have<BR>my pity. Of course, many Christians do not rely on such a negative<BR>philosophy but focus on more positive aspects of the creed. For<BR>myself, I've always found it bemusing that almost all organized<BR>faiths rely on unimaginable horrors in the afterlife to keep the<BR>faithful in line. Shouldn't love of the infinite be the primary,<BR>indeed sole, focus of spirituality? While it is understandable that<BR>people would want some form of "justice" in an afterlife ( given that<BR>there is sometimes very little here on Earth ), I think some<BR>faiths grossly overcompensate on this matter.<BR><BR>Bottom line : THERE IS NO HELL!
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